Sleep Apnea Worsens Psychiatric Symptoms

FROM THE AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION’S INSTITUTE ON PSYCHIATRIC SERVICES

 

SAN FRANCISCO – A simple questionnaire can pick up obstructive sleep apnea in psychiatric patients, according to a small study.

Screening is rare in psychiatric patients at present, but it’s important to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) because it can make mental illness worse, contributing to depression and possibly to the risk of manic episodes. Symptoms can mimic mental illness as well, making patients irritable and tired, and OSA makes the use of benzodiazepines and other respiratory depressants problematic, said lead investigator Dr. Vanita Jain, a psychiatry department resident at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

 

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